Notre Dame Bay Region
Extracts from "A Century of Methodism in Twillingate and Notre Dame Bay"Rev. William Henry Edgar Mercer
published by Twillingate Sun, 1932
Transcriber's note: The spelling of certain names varies throughout the book and I have preserved these variations. I have concentrated throughout on local names, rather than the names and experiences of appointed ministers. Local ministers have been included. Typographical errors in the original are preserved, and are indicated by [sic].
According to a Table given in Prowse’s "History of Newfoundland" the first day school established in Twillingate was in October, 1829, under the Anglican Church with William Walker as Principal and sixty children in attendance. The Table also shows an Adult School with fifty on the Register under the same Principal….
[p 72] About thirty years after the establishment of the first school in Twillingate a Tea meeting was convened in this town in the interests of Education. The meeting was held in Duder’s store with all the prominent men present. The ignorance of youth was much deplored and all were united in promoting the success of Education, but it seems that one school did the work of educating the youth of this large and sparsely populated town until fifteen years afterwards, when permission was given Rev. John Reay, Wesleyan Minister, "to convene the Board of Education for Twillingate Division" under his Church.
[p. 73] Accordingly, the first meeting of the Wesleyan Board of Education appointed by the Governor in Council for the Educational District of Twillingate was held in the Wesleyan Parsonage at Twillingate, on Thursday, July 29th, 1875…..
The minute-book of the first Educational Board meeting, beginning on July 29th, 1875, furnishes the names of those who composed that Board, viz. : Rev. J. Reay, Messrs. Peter Samways, William Hodder, Isaac Moors, Elias Roberts, John Minty and Alfred Linfield.
Rev. John Reay was elected Chairman and Secretary and the sum of one pound was allowed for postage and stationery, etc. for the year. It was also decided at that meeting that the sum of seven pounds ten shillings be paid for the training of William Thomas Roberts as a Pupil Teacher.
September 4th, 1875, another meeting was held when it was resolved, "that in consideration of present necessities the Sabbath school house in Twillingate South be fitted up and used for a day school, until other school houses can be built."…
[p. 74] It was also decided, "that the chapel at Little Harbour be fitted up and used for a day school until a new school-house can be built and Jasper Dowland be appointed teacher and paid at the rate of £25 per annum."….
[p. 75] At this meeting [of October 18th, 1875] the Board "recommended to the Government Peter Moors of Back Harbour as a suitable person to be received and trained as Pupil Teacher, believing him to possess such abilities and qualifications as will make him very useful in the capacity of school teacher in this colony." Our old friend Peter Moors taught school with a great measure of success for several years, then he entered business and is now spending the evening of life in the thriving town of Lewisporte.
These schools all over the Circuit were built by workmen who gave every alternate day free. The success of the undertaking to build several schools in such short time was largely due to Mr. Reay and his capable Board who took hold of the work in a missionary spirit and won the co-operation of all concerned….
The population according to the Census of 1874, which gives the basis of Grant for teachers’ salaries is shown in the following table:
The first teachers were: --
William Thomas Roberts, South Side,
Three prominent well-known figures come to our notice for their more abundant services in connection with Education in this town, viz.: --The late Charles White, J. P., who began teaching under our Board in 1888 and served for twenty years until he was pensioned and was afterwards a life-long supporter of our schools and Church….
[p. 79] J. P. Thompson, S. M. of Brigus, was nominated a member of the Board of Education July 26th, 1892. There was no High or Superior School under our Board at this time and it was he, being so greatly interested in higher education, who moved the following resolution, at a meeting dated July 18th, 1893: --"The subject of a High or Superior School having been under consideration of the Board, and the necessity for such a school being looked upon as most desirable for the further advancement of Education in Twillingate, the Board is of opinion that steps should be taken forthwith for the erection of a suitable building….
The work of constructing the Superior School was begun by the following members of the Board, who acted as a Building Committee, with Mr Thompson as Treasurer:--Rev Jabez Hill, Messrs. John Minty, Sr., Elias Roberts, Alfred Linfield, Sr., J. P. Thompson, and William Guy. Dr. Curtis completed the work in his term, and the school was opened in 1896, with A Hoskings as first Principal, and Miss L.A. Ashbourne teacher of the Primary Department.
J. P. Thompson was the first Proprietor and Publisher of "The Twillingate Sun" which was founded by him in 1880. He showed great interest in Church and School and for several years successfully filled the office of Recording Steward of the Official Board, and although Mr. Thompson removed to another field of labour his work and services have always been highly appreciated by Twillingate people.
I. S. LeDrew, afterwards Dr. LeDrew, who is now in labours abundant in this town as medical doctor, succeeded A. Hoskings as second Principal of Central Superior School in 1897. The records show that "Mr. LeDrew was highly recommended by the Rev. M. Fenwick, the Guardian of the Methodist College Home." He resigned in 1900 and the records again show, that "Mr. I. S. LeDrew having tendered his resignation it was with regret received." After returning from a Canadian University where he graduated as M.D., he succeeded William Ashbourne as a member of our Educational Board in 1906, and was a very active [p. 80] member until 1912 when he retired. During this time the Arm Academy was built and the Dr. was the Secretary of the Building Committee. Dr. LeDrew has also served as a Steward and Local Preacher in connection with our Official Board, and for a time acted as Recording Steward.
In 1908 the Educational Board formed a Committee for the erection of a new Superior School in the Arms. This Committee consisted of –Josiah Hawkins, James Primmer, Philip Pond, James Gillett, Jr., David Wheeler, William Snow, William Waterman, Isaac Bourden, John Minty and James Horwood.
….A two-story building, the present Arm Academy, was erected in 1911, with J. W. Minty as contractor, and was opened in 1912. G. G. Spracklin was its first Principal, and Miss H. C. Young, teacher in the Primary Department.
….We have now ten schools in operation under our Board, employing ten graded teachers. Our two Superior schools have made a splendid contribution this last two years.
Names of Schools and teachers are hereto appended:
[p. 81] The Central Superior, under Principal Butt, is doing efficient work, and this gratifying feature is a proof that a change of teachers means a retardation of school work. For years this school was frequently changing teachers until the past four years, and in 1931 the results were highly satisfactory, as every pupil who sat for the C. H. E. Examination secured a pass….
The Arm Academy has made great strides under Principal Parsons who has won the confidence of people and Board….
….St. Peter’s (Anglican) School is one of the best of the outport schools with a very capable and industrious Principal….It has won a very coveted prestige for itself in the years passed, and its educational attainments are largely due to Principal Harnett, who is an enthusiast on Education. He has been teaching in this town for a number of years, and has become thoroughly familiar with local conditions—hence the secret of the school’s success. Most of our children on the North Side attend Mr. Harnett’s school….
This chapter on Education would be incomplete without referring to another notable person for his invaluable service rendered the cause of Education in this town—and that is George Roberts, M. H. A., S. M. In 1895, Mr. Roberts was nominated a member of the Methodist Educational Board in place of Mr. Thompson, left the District, and he continued a member until 1903 when it was found that in compliance with Government legislation regarding the retiring of the oldest member of the Board that he was obliged to retire. He retired for just one year when in 1904 he was re-appointed, in the place of C. D. Mayne who resigned, and continued a member until the [p. 82] Arm Academy was erected. He was therefore a member of the Board for upwards of twenty years.
We write of him, following the Teachers, as he was greatly interested in them and purposed that the Teacher should receive encouragement and appreciation for his services which the following resolution, moved by him at a Board meeting, will prove:--
"That the Board present all retiring teachers,
George Roberts was not only interested in Education but on the departure of Mr Thompson he purchased "The Twillingate Sun" and made a success of it as its second Proprietor and Publisher for about 14 years.
As a politician he met with success as the colleague of Sir [p. 83] Robert Bond, being twice elected to represent the Electoral District of Twillingate.
In 1918 he succeeded Magistrate Scott in the magistracy in Twillingate, a position which he maintained with dignity, his judgments if severe, being free from all personal bias.
When the proposal for the erection of the Memorial Hospital was mooted he threw himself heartily into the project, and his own generous gift set a pace which kept up the high standard of giving. It was one of his sincere regrets that he could not live to see the commencement of that structure, and he was saddened by any thought of delay in its construction. We have previously referred to his prominence as a Church member and Official.…
Rev. W. E. Mercer, Chairman, Mr. C. L. Hodge, Secretary, Messrs. Edgar G. Roberts, Edwin Facey, Andrew Maidment, Theodore Jenkins, T. G. W. Ashbourne, Edward Sharpe, Peter White, Joseph Warr.
THE TWILLINGATE SUN.
[p. 87] Very much of our paper’s success, its stability and its popularity, is due to its editors—the present editor included, who like his revered father, during the intervals between publishing his paper has found time to show his interest in Church, Hospital, and other community work.
Its founder was Mr. J. P. Thompson who worked with "The Harbour Grace Standard" as journeyman printer and came to this town in 1880 and on June 24th launched "The Sun." He laboured until 1895, when the late George Roberts purchased the plant. He was M. H. A. for Twillingate District from 1889 to 1895, and is now Stipendiary Magistrate of Brigus.
George Roberts was its second Proprietor and Publisher and edited it from 1896 to 1910. The late George Roberts was M. H. A. from 1900 to 1909, and Stipendiary Magistrate of Twillingate from 1918 to 1920, when he died.
The plant was bought by Mr. William Temple, son of the late Canon Temple, in 1910 and edited by him until August, 1921. Mr. Temple is now assistant editor of "The Daily News," St John’s.
[p. 88] Mr. Stewart Roberts, son of its 2nd Publisher, is the present incumbent and it has been under his capable management for the past ten years.
In the year 1930 "The Sun" celebrated its Golden Jubilee, and in its Editorials the present Editor traced its history through the past fifty years. Two of its ex-editors live, the other has passed on to the Great Unknown. This paper has continued with a good measure of success and prosperity for over half a century, which speaks volumes for its Publishers. It has begun its next half century of publication assured that all the creative genius and inspiration of its past Editors will be very directly and infinitely felt throughout the future.
THE NOTRE DAME BAY MEMORIAL HOSPITAL.
From 1919 to 1922 the problem was one of finance, yet it was decided to build and equip a modern Hospital and Dr. Parsons, who has [sic] been the dynamic force throughout, laboured indefatigably to secure this building with modern equipment….
[p. 90] Dr. Parsons and his Board set about the task of raising more money and little by little the fund increased until $20, 000 had been raised by the people themselves, from their own pockets….
[p. 91] Mr. H. W. Rideout, a local mason and builder, who had learned his trade in England and for many years had worked with a number of large constructing firms in New York, was given the contract in 1921. He signed a contract to construct the building for slightly over $50,000 and started work the middle of June. The work was done entirely by local labour and Mr. Rideout taught his men to be concrete mixers, masons and plasterers.
The building which is completely firebroof [sic], built of concrete blocks, with concrete floors and concrete block partitions, reinforced by steel railroad rails, is built in a very substantial way and reflects great credit on Mr. Rideout and his capable workers. The concrete blocks were made by Mr. Rideout and his workmen and are from his own design. These blocks show a neat appearance on the exterior….
[From a section on the funding of the New Wing which was begun in June, 1930, and opened March, 1931]:
[p. 92] Special contributions to the Wing are: --Mrs. Pierce of Boston, children’s ward, in memory of her daughter, Frances Goodwin.
Messrs. A. G. and Harry Ashbourne, a two-bed room in memory of Florrie.
A four-bed ward in memory of Mrs. Solomon Roberts, Change Islands, by her two sons.
A four-bed ward in memory of his daughter, Juanita, by Willis Tulk.
Memorial Wards, Original Building: Wm. Ashbourne Memorial Ward, by members of the Ashbourne families, Twillingate; Osmond Memorial Ward by members of the Osmond families, Moreton’s Harbour.
The Lucy Foley Romilly Ward.
Mary Amelia Wilkins—Treatment Room.
Helen Hamilton Alexander—Children’s Room.
Cots:--S. U. F., Ladies’ Sewing Class, Loyalty Lodge, L. O. A., and Ashbournes Ltd., Twillingate; Little Bay Islands, Herring Neck, Grand Falls, Botwood, Laurenceton, Springdale, Nipper’s Harbour.
Dr. Parsons began serving the Grenfell Mission following his graduation from Amherst College 1913, and remained at St. Anthony about a year, as teacher during the winter in the Wilfred T. Grenfell School, and in the Mission office; the following summer he spent as Secretary to Doctor Grenfell, on the hospital steamer, "Strathcona," returning to the United States for a year at Colorado College 1914-1915.
The summer 1916 Dr. Parsons went back to Labrador as medical assistant at Battle Harbour and returned to the United States in the fall to continue his studies at Johns Hopkins Medical School. During the summer of 1918 and again in 1919, he served as medical officer in charge of Battle Harbour Hospital and it was here he became interested in a hospital for Twillingate.
In October, 1928, he was admitted to the Fellowship of American College of Surgeons (F.A.C.S.)
In November, 1931, he was awarded a Fellowship to study six months abroad and is now at Vienna, Austria, where he is pursuing his studies in all the latest discoveries in the field of Medicine and Surgery.
At the Annual Meeting 1931-32 Rev. F. W. Hollands and I were elected Directors.
FACTS ABOUT TWILLINGATE: THE FIRST "LIVYERS" (LIVE HERES).
[p. 97] Twillingate, Capital of the North, named Toulinguet by the French, who, in the sixteenth and early part of the seventeenth century, fished about Notre Dame Bay. Later they shifted their quarters on the line of coast extending from White Bay to Quirpon, as in Notre Dame Bay they came in collision with the Red Indians, who were their dreaded enemies as well as the English.
In the seventeenth century the first "liviers," English fishermen and their families from the coast of Devonshire, established themselves in Twillingate. In 1739, 152 persons remained here during the winter. Palliser, in his report of 1768 says, "Twillingate was never formally used by the French; and the master of the "Bon Ami" admitted that he received an extra bounty from the French Government to fish there, in order to annoy and drive away the English settlers."
History shows that nets, lines and cordage were purchased by the Nobles in 1760 and this firm carried on large dealings and very extensive fishery operations amounting in some cases to £1,000 for the year. It is presumed that the Nobles’ firm was the first commercial establishment in this town. John Slade, an [p. 98] English merchant, made a fortune in Twillingate about this time from the fishery operations. His was another commercial establishment. In 1846 he was elected representative of the Electoral District of Fogo; in this District Twillingate was included….
[p. 100] Fishing schooners go to the Treaty Coast and Labrador fishing each summer. Most of these belong to Messrs, Ashbournes, Ltd….
[p. 103] In the spring of 1929 Messrs. Ashbournes, Ltd. "fitted out" the "Lone Flier," an auxiliary schooner, in charge of Capt. Saul White, and he and his hardy crew met with a fair measure of success….
[p. 104] The summer weather here [in Twillingate] can put new life in a person. It has meant long life to several. [p. 105] Residents have reached the 100 mark. Mrs. Elizabeth Roberts lived 101 years and 3 months, and many have gone over ninety….
[p. 106] Though the train does not run into this town, yet we are connected by the Bay steamer S. S. "Clyde" and the magnificent coastal-boats "Prospero" and "Kyle," and this port is only a twenty-four hour trip to St. John’s, and seven hours to Lewisporte. The "Clyde" is a weekly boat modernly equipped with all the necessary facilities for the comfort and accommodation of passengers. Capt. [John] Butcher, called "The Captain Courageous," is a typical Newfoundland captain with a large heart, jovial, fearless and competent. In calm or in storm if travelling in the "Clyde" one can feel at home on the water….[N.B. This page features a photograph of Capt. Butcher.]
[p. 108] During the past year the [Salvation] Army has lost one of its first soldiers and best supporters, and a soldier of over 40 years standing—John Phillips—a much respected citizen, as his large funeral showed. The late John Phillips was a "Corps Sergt. Major" and was honoured with a commission from the late General Booth as "Envoy"….
[From a section on boys’ organizations in Twillingate, p. 110]: The Arm Lad’s Brigade owns a very fine Brigade Hall. Its leading officer is Capt. Walter Pelley. The Scouts meet in the Masonic Hall, kindly placed at their disposal by the members of this fraternity. The dynamos of the Troop to-day are B. H. Butt and E. J. Colbourne.
Among the other fine buildings are the Primmer House, the Harbour View Hotel, and the Ford Hotel now the property of Ashbournes, Ltd., occupied by the Bank Manager. There are some splendid dwelling houses which makes [sic] first class homes, viz., Dr. LeDrew’s, Dr. Wood’s, the Magistrate’s, the late Charles White’s, Dr. Parsons’ Cottage, the Nurses’ Home, C. of E. Parsonage, U. C. Manse, and many other handsome buildings and bungalows….
Twillingate has splendid Hospital accommodation superintended by the brilliant Dr. Parsons and his staff. The work of this Hospital has been admired and praised by medical men of the U.S.A. and elsewhere. Its work has aroused their [p. 111] admiration to such a degree that a certificate has been granted by authority of the Board of Regents of the American College of Surgeons, which has approved Notre Dame Bay Memorial Hospital which has complied with the minimum standard requirements of the American College of Surgeons….
The Judicature is well looked after by Magistrate Roberts, the J.P.’s and Constable Manderson….
The Postal Telegraph Office is in the capable hands of Mr. Paul Moors, and the postal service under the direction of the [p. 112] present energetic and obliging Post-Master, Mr. Fred House, and is in a condition of good efficiency comparing favourably with any other Post Office in the country.
The Bank, which is a branch of the Bank of Nova Scotia, is under the able management by [sic] Mr. K. M. Batten.
Linked with the commercial life of the town are its enterprising merchants—the Ashbournes, Blandfords, Colbournes, Faceys, Gilletts, Hodges, Linfields and Manuels—all endeavouring to make it a bigger and better Twillingate. Seven large mercantile firms and ten other places of business adorn the town.
The most romantic spot of our town is Long Point on which is situated the Lighthouse and Fog Alarm. A visit to the Lighthouse is very interesting and the genial care-keepers, Messrs. John and George Roberts, are very painstaking in explaining all possible about the fine Lighthouse and Fog-signal, which, by the revolving beacon and alarming sound, send its flash and report many miles to sea, guiding the tempest-tossed mariners to a haven of refuge. The light-giving and life-saving institution has decorated Long Point for many years being one of the first to adorn our coast, built in 1876.
[NB. The page facing 112 contains photographs of Jabez P. Thompson, S.M., and Stewart Roberts. The page facing 113 contains a photograph of Arthur G and William Ashbourne.]
[p. 113] In 1832 this District was known as the Electoral District of Fogo, with Thomas Bennett as the representative….
Mr. Thomas Bennett was Speaker of the House of Assembly in 1834. He retired in 1837. Then Edward J. Dwyer became "the Hon. Member of the Lion’s Den, Fogo," as it was then called.
[p. 114] In 1842 John Slade, Twillingate’s pioneer business man, was the representative.
In 1852 C. H. Emerson, Speaker of the House in 1885.
Subsequent history shows that there was a contention in the House that this District, with one member, was under-represented, and following this there were two representatives, W. H. Ellis and T. Knight.
In 1862 W. V. Whiteway and T. Knight were elected representatives. Then there were eighteen electoral Districts sending thirty-six members to the House of Assembly. W. V. Whiteway, afterwards Sir W. V. Whiteway, K.C.M.G., and Premier of the Colony fifteen years….
In 1872 by the Redistribution Act three members were given to Twillingate and one to Fogo, and F. B. T. Carter, C. Duder and W. Kelligrews, were the representatives in 1873. F. B. T. Carter, afterwards Sir F. B. T. Carter, K. C. M. G., and Premier of the Colony. Sir Frederick’s Administration was happily favoured with prosperity and the largest fishery ever known in Nfld.
In 1882 our own J. P. Thompson, S. McKay and R. P. Rice were the representatives. We have already mentioned some of J. P. Thompson’s affiliations with Twillingate.
In 1892 J. P. Thompson, E. R. Burgess and T. Peyton.
In 1902 Twillingate had the strongest team for many years, viz: The Premier, Right Hon. Sir Robert Bond, P.C., K. C. M. G., L. L. D.; Hon. J. A. Clift, K. C., Minister of Agriculture and Mines, and Geo. Roberts, Esq., Editor of the weekly Twillingate Sun.
In 1912 Sir Robert Bond, Hon. J. A. Clift, K. C., and George Roberts, Esq. This was Sir Robert Bond’s third term.
In 1922 W. B. Jennings, Minister of Public Works, S. Samson and George Jones represented the District.
In 1932 K. M. Brown. Twillingate District has but one representative at present as Notre Dame Bay has been divided into four Electoral Districts—Twillingate, Green Bay, Lewisporte, and Grand Falls.
During the past century Twillingate has given of her own product to the House of Assembly in such specimens as John [p. 115] Slade, C. Duder, R. P. Rice, J. P. Thompson, T. Peyton, George Roberts, and in 1924-28 T. G. W. Ashbourne, B. A., one of our enterprising merchants, a returned officer of the Great War, and a very prominent United Churchman, was one of the team with K. M. Brown and Geo. Grimes.
There are several radio receiving sets in this town which give great satisfaction and through which much of the world’s news is gleaned. The lucky possessors are: Messrs. Paul Moors, Ashbournes, Ltd., Capt. T. Vatcher, A. Colbourne, F. Roberts, S. Loveridge, S. Facey, E. J. Linfield, S. Maley, Capt. Saul White, Claude Colbourne, John Hodder, Lewis Anstey, Capt. William Bulgin and Dr. Wood.
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